We are entering the season of giving, but sometimes that can be stressful when trying to figure out what to give someone who isn’t vocal about what they “want”. As a child, I recall making long lists, consisting primarily of LEGOs, baseball cards, and Game Gear stuff. There was no confusion about what I was hoping Santa would bring.
Research suggests that giving “experiences” as gifts can lead to greater overall levels of well being. Several years ago, my wife and I decided to give her family the experience of a family StrengthsFinder assessment. After completing it, we lead them in a multi-hour conversation around what made our family unique, interesting, and strong. It was fascinating hearing them articulate things about themselves that we have known for years, but have never been able to put into words. When we were done, I think all of us understand one another on a deeper level.
Giving StrengthsFinder as a gift is a wonderful idea for families, friends, co-workers or anybody you care about who could benefit from knowing more about what makes them special. Below are a few ideas, some helpful tips, and how to go about giving this great gift.
How to Get Started
For starters, you’ll need to purchase a StrengthsFinder code. You can either get it electronically from the Gallup Strengths Center, or purchase one of the several Strengths based books available from Amazon or anywhere books are sold.
Going the physical book route will make for a nicer gift (you can actually wrap it). You can also purchase a book that may be in an area of greater interest for the recipient. Here are a couple examples.
Strengths Based Leadership – Great for anyone in a role of leadership where they are managing multiple people. It stresses the best leaders create hope, trust, compassion, and stability in order to provide an environment where others can thrive.
Strengths Based Selling – Delves into how you use your signature themes in a position where you’re selling, developing business, or possibly even marketing of some type. It’s all about how people use their Strengths to leverage influence in relationships.
Strengths Quest – A fantastic choice for college students, or high school seniors. There are lots of amazing action items and other applications for anyone beginning the journey of discovering what they want to do with their life.
Teach with Your Strengths – As the name implies, a great read for those in the education industry. Shares insights about how to leverage your themes in an educational setting.
Living Your Strengths – Geared towards people interested in using their Strengths in a faith-based context, and curious how this ties together.
StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Probably the best, all around book that will appeal to the majority of people. Has some brief history about StrengthsFinder and long descriptions of each theme.
If you buy a book, make sure you do not get a used one. While cheaper, they often do not include the access code in the back.
Making it into an AMAZING Gift – After they Open It
Unwrapping any of these Strengths based books is a tremendous gift in and of itself. What can really make this the gift that keeps on giving, is to take time to sit down with the recipient(s), and lead them through a conversation about their Strengths. It will help them in virtually every aspect of life, not to mention give you tremendous insight, and potentially deepen your relationship.
Even if you have no formal training with Strengths, here are some simple things that will help you facilitate a casual conversation around their signature themes.
Schedule a time in the near future where you’ll treat them to coffee to talk over their results. If you plan to do this with a group, you’ll need to plan far in advance. Allow yourself at least 60 minutes.
When you give them the book or code to take the assessment, tell them to do the following upon completion:
- Print out each of the five long descriptions that come with the results (or use ours).
- Using a highlighter or multi-colored pen, read each description and underline or highlight key phrases, sentences or words. Pay attention to what jumps out, and what resonates. Indicate how much those things describe you.
- Using a different color, indicate the things that are less clear.
- Repeat this process for each of the five themes.
Make sure you do the same thing with their results in preparation. Try to think of at least one recent example of how you’ve seen these themes at work. As much as possible, make sure you are leading them during this conversation, not telling them who they are based on your understanding of the results. Keep in mind that you are simply trying to get them to talk about who they are, and connect it back to a behavior of Strength.
If helpful, use these broad question categories to prompt your conversation.
- Communication – How do you see your strengths come out when you communicate a message? What is your desired outcome in how you share information with others?
- Decision Making – How do you see your strengths at work in the way you make decisions? Do you make them quick or slow? Do you need lots of information first, or little to none?
- Time – How do your strengths come out in relation to time? Are you long term or short term focused? Inspired by today, tomorrow or yesterday?
- Relationships – Who were the last five people you interacted with? However brief, how did your themes of Strength play out in those interactions?
Giving StrengthsFinder as a gift is a way to help someone else do more of what only they can do. We wish you a very successful, thoughtful and meaningful gift giving season!